Southern Utah News Articles
Complaints lodged against Western Rock Products new Paria gravel pit operations
The regular December 14, 2011, meeting of the Kane County Planning Commission was brought to order by Chairman Tony Chelewski. Before addressing the Administrative Agenda item #4 re: Western Rock Products new Paria gravel pit operation violations (operating hours) of their Conditional Use Permit. Chairman Chelewski announced the meeting was not a public hearing, it was for administrative action only. The public had already voiced their concerns through phone calls and e-mails.
“Conditional Use” means a land use that, because of its unique characteristics or potential impact on the municipality, surrounding neighbors, or adjacent land uses, may not be compatible only if certain conditions are required that mitigate or eliminate the detrimental impacts.”
Chelewski stated, “Firstly, this commission/county needs to clearly define “gravel pit operation,” the hours of operation, and what they can or cannot do maintenance wise. Chelewski interjected the fact that he lives in the Paria area and has watched the lights of the “pit” come on at 6 a.m. and off at 8 p.m. and noticed trucks from different unknown areas entering, loading and leaving at various times of the day.
“There needs to be a working understanding between Western Rock Products, the site operations and the county,” said Chelewski. He also commented that the highway noise caused by the trucks in the vicinity is tremendous.
Deputy County Attorney Rob Van Dyke commented that his understanding from the previous meetings, the hours of operation of the gravel pit crushing was year round from 8 a.m. to 6 pm. Van Dyke agreed that there needs to be more clarification in what the terms mean.
Land Use Authority Administrator Shannon McBride read a letter of comment from Kane County Commissioner Dirk Clayson, and also gave a summary of the multiple complaints that her department had received via phone calls, e-mail messages and letters from five of the approximately 11 residents in the area of the new Paria gravel pit. The complaints were in regards to Western Rock Products new Paria gravel pit operation and their untimely operating hours of trucks, lighting and equipment use in violation of their conditional use permit.
McBride read several of the complaints, stating the violations were taking place early in the morning, late at night and on Sundays. Also, there were problems with the vibration and noise.
Van Dyke advised the complaints should be more specific when pointing out the areas of violations.
In 2007, the original conditional use permit was granted to Western Rock Products for sand and gravel extraction. Original conditions:
1) Days of operation-Monday through Saturday.
2) Hours machinery may be operated: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
3) No blasting will be allowed, digging only.
4) Use all operating practices necessary to minimize noise, dust, contaminants and vibrations i.e. regular spraying of roads and pits, mufflers on generators, etc.
5) Prevention of water pollution by dikes and berms.
6) Comply with operating plan submitted and as amended.
The conditional use was amended in January 2, 2008, to include the M-2 zone for asphalt manufacturing. The asphalt plant operations have different conditions due to the time frame of heating the asphalt for usage. Hours of operations 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mountain Standard/Daylight Savings Time). Days of operation Monday through Saturday.
On July 13, 2011, a public hearing was held. Western Rock Products representative Gil Fife applied for an extension to the operational working hours stated in the conditional use permit, due to their contract with Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) to repave sections of Highway 89 and to meet UDOT deadlines for completion.
The commission approved the request for operating hours 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) with a time frame of July 13, 2011 to November 30, 2011 for a seven-day workweek.
In response to the recent complaints, McBride said she visited the new Paria site on December 1, 2011, which was after the highway work was completed. McBride said she personally observed the conditional use violations from 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. A front loader was going back and forth, moving gravel from one area of the pit to the next, which is in violation of the conditional use permit.
McBride then issued a “Red Tag” notice to Western Rock Products. (“Red Tag” is a written document stating the person is in violation of a Kane County Ordinance). The gate into the site must be closed and locked to insure there would not be any more violations.
McBride informed the commission on December 7, 2011, she sent a letter to Western Rock Products’ St. George office requesting a representative from the company to appear at the Kane County P&Z December 14, 2011, meeting to discuss the violations.
Gill Fife appeared as the official representative of Western Rock Products. Fife explained about the asphalt pressure and the temperature needs to be 50 degree to lay the asphalt. He also stated he was not at the site all the time to see what was actually going on, but did receive some calls early in the morning. Fife explained there were four or five sub-contractors involved in the operations, and they may have stretched the time limits.
Van Dyke, as a matter of record, asked Fife if he was the authorized representative of Western Rock Products and is acting on their behalf, Fife replied he was. Van Dyke asked does Western Rock Products have a property right in the new Paria gravel pit and are they the owners of the conditional use permit that allows operations of the gravel pit?
Fife replied in the affirmative.
Van Dyke asked, “Do you admit that you (Western Rock Products) are in violation of the conditional use permit?”
Again Fife answered in the affirmative.
Van Dyke added, “Instead of revoking that permit, are you willing to readjust the situation?”
Fife said, “you betcha.”
To eliminate excessive restrictions, the commission decided to amend the conditions, clarifying the hours of gravel pit crushing operations and the pressure asphalt plant to be able to run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and the other conditions will stay the same. The exception: Other work activities allowed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with Western Rock Products being the responsible party.
Other administrative items: recommended to the Kane County Commissioners, for approval two Parcel Joinders in Swains Creek.
Legislative public hearing: A Rural 6 lot Unimproved Subdivision with six acres each lot was approved on behalf of Mel Heaton, Mike Heaton, Carolyn H. Grygla, Ken Heaton, Laurie Schofield, Bar K. Ranch Stout Canyon, with conditions stipulated: Approval from the health department for each lot, then return to the LUA for recommendation.
Legislative: review of Kane County Ordinance Chapter 7 Commercial Zones (C-1, C-2): Building Official Ryan Maddux submitted his suggestions on simplifying this chapter to the P & Z Commissioners, clarifying the Use Tables 9-7B-5. This section deals with what uses are permitted and what uses require a conditional use permit. After the panel reviewed each item and made their own suggestions, the chapter was approved with changes notated.